Monday, August 14, 2023

1971 - 11,000 See Opperman’s Knoxville Race Victory

Jan Opperman accepts his accolades in victory lane after winning the National Super-Modified Championships at the Marion County Fairgrounds. 

Knoxville, Iowa (August 14, 1971) - Jan Opperman of Lewisburg, Penn., using a tire loaned by Jay Woodside of Kansas City, Mo., won the National Super-Modified Championship race Saturday night at Marion County Fairgrounds before an estimated crowd of 11,000.

Driving a Chevrolet-powered car owned by Kenny and Larry Cahill of Iowa City, Iowa, Opperman led all the way to win by nearly a half lap over Earl Wagner of Pleasantville, Iowa.

“I've got to give Jay a lot of credit for my winning the race,” Opperman said. “He raced in the B-Main just before the feature. When he pulled in, he told me take his Goodyear tire.” That will keep you out in front,” he said. The tire, which is used on the right rear, is made of a softer compound than one I had. That gave me a great grip.”

Opperman, who earned $4,200 for winning the race, had started on the pole position. He said he was “really shot” after the victory. “I have been traveling back and forth between Harrisburg, Pa., and Knoxville since Wednesday,” he explained.

“I raced there Wednesday, drove straight through to qualify here Thursday night, flew back to Harrisburg on Friday and raced there last night, then flew back here today.”

There was little change in the first seven cars during the championship race. Wagner started in the front row and held that position until Eddie Leavitt of Kansas City, Mo., took over for four laps.

Wagner moved back into second permanently on the 16th lap and won $2,000. Leavitt finished third, which was worth $1,000. Two other Kansas City drivers – Dick Sutcliffe and Ray Lee Goodwin - finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Jerry Blundy of Galesburg, Ill., took sixth and Darrell Dawley of Sioux Falls, S.D., was seventh. Blundy was in fourth position through the first 15 laps.

Bill Utz of Sedalia, Mo., led all the way to capture the 15-lap B-Main. Rick Ferkel of Fostoria, Ohio, was second. Stacy Redmond of Mason City finished fifth in that event while John Babb of Ottumwa was eleventh.

Burt Sonner of Des Moines led all the way to win the accident- plagued 10-lap consolation, worth $350. Al Murie of Kansas City, Mo., suffered a broken wrist when he was involved in a four-car accident on the first lap of the race. Murie's car flipped three times and he was taken to Collins Memorial Hospital. No other driver was injured.

Results –

1. Jan Opperman, Lewisburg, Pa.
2. Earl Wagner, Pleasantville, Iowa
3. Eddie Leavitt, Kearney, Mo.
4. Dick Sutcliffe, Kansas City, Mo,
5. Ray Lee Goodwin, Kansas City, Mo.
6. Jerry Blundy, Galesburg, Ill.
7. Darrell Dawley, Sioux Falls, S.D.
8. David James, Garland, Tex.
9. Dick Gaines, Seymour, Ind.
10. Gene Genetten, Kansas City, Mo.
11. Bob Kinser, Bloomington, Ind.
12. Harold McGilton, Fremont, Ohio
13. Ray Kenens, Lafayette, Ind.
14. Lee Osbourne, Lebanon, Pa.
15. Lloyd Beckman, Lincoln, Neb.
16. Dave McCarty, Kansas City, Mo.
17. Cliff Blundy, Alpha, Ill.
18. Mike Johnson, Martinsville, Ind.
19. Denny Altman, Beatrice, Neb.
20. Steve Unger, Garrolsville, Ind.
21. Lonnie Jenson, Lincoln, Neb.
22. Ted Wise, Hubbard, Ohio

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